Or if not the oldest, then perhaps the most old-fashioned?
People pouring buckets of ice water over themselves for charity may well be a thing at the moment, but at the Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri in Tokyo, they have been doing something very similar for much, much longer. A simple bit of festival fun that many look forward to. Even getting all dressed up just to get a good soaking.
And as such, it’s enjoyed by people of all ages, although sulking little lads are sometimes an exception.
Supermarkets pretty much stock everything you could ever want; all under one roof. And convenience stores are exactly what their name suggests — a blessing on so many occasions. But neither of them can come anywhere close to offering the conversation and companionship that a traditional corner shop does.
Due to their chosen line of work, it’s apt that Japanese scarecrows are somewhat on the sinister side.
Sometimes even going as far as disturbing.
But times change it would seem, even if their job title doesn’t. And with cycling clearly now a thing.
There are hints at what could be described as serenity. Possibly even joy.
On National Foundation Day, events at Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine are surprisingly low-key, with only a gathering of uniform-clad nationalists for a a brief ceremony, along with a smattering of more conventional visitors and curious onlookers. The anniversary of Japan’s surrender at the end of World War Two, however, is a very different affair altogether. There are more people to begin with. Way more. Including all manner of far right factions. Then there’s an impeccably observed and very moving minute’s silence held at noon. Plus later on in the day, disturbing and incredibly vocal animosity is directed at pro-peace marchers from the aforementioned right-wingers and their supporters.
Fortunately, however, this aggression was, on the whole, countered by the friendliness of the vast majority of those present — a healthy percentage of whom were keen to stop and talk. So in many ways the image below seemed to sum up the day; namely a huge amount of people, and a quite staggering number of flags. All of which was watched over by a very strong, not to mention extremely visible, police presence.